Dana Walden Shakes Up Disney Leadership, John Landgraf and Simran Sethi Expand Roles

It's the executive's first big move since her promotion earlier this month

In a game of executive musical chairs, Dana Walden made her first big moves as head of the company’s TV networks since CEO Bob Iger’s return.

Earlier this month, Walden was upped to co-head of the entertainment group alongside Alan Bergman, and she’s wasted no time executing her leadership vision.

Firstly, the Mayor of TV is getting more real estate. John Landgraf, chairman, FX content and FX productions, is adding National Geographic and Onyx Collective to his purview.

Meanwhile, Simran Sethi is taking on a bigger role as evp of programming and content strategy for ABC Entertainment and Freeform programming, now combined under one executive.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Sethi, who helped launch Freeform. Tara Duncan, who previously headed up the network, will shift her focus solely to Onyx, which Walden noted in an internal memo is a major priority for Disney.

Courteney Monroe, president of content for Nat Geo, will remain in the role and now report to Landgraf, as will Duncan. Monroe will now oversee Nat Geo’s digital footprint and magazine alongside its original content strategy.

Craig Erwich has been upped to president of Disney Television Group, adding responsibility for the development and programming of Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, will continue to report to Erwich.

While Walden’s leadership team remains intact, the new structure follows Iger’s rapid dismantling of the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution group and the exit of Kareem Daniels.

See Walden’s full memo below:

Dear Colleagues, 

Since the announcement of Disney Entertainment, I’ve spent time thinking about how to organize my team in a way that will enable me to focus on my newly expanded role, in partnership with Alan. I will continue to rely on the same incredible leaders who have delivered hit after hit onto our platforms and into our rich library, but have made some changes to our structure, which are outlined below:

  • Onyx Collective remains a huge priority, and as its impressive roster of creators and series continues to grow, Tara Duncan will now focus exclusively on Onyx.
  • National Geographic Content recently earned its third Oscar nomination and has attracted some of the biggest stars to its impressive slate of series and doc films. Courteney Monroe will now oversee all aspects of the brand, including its digital footprint and iconic magazine, along with its original content strategy.
  • Tara and Courteney will now report directly to John Landgraf, combining the strength of three prestigious brands.
  • As Tara’s focus shifts to Onyx, Freeform programming and development will be combined with ABC Entertainment, and Simran Sethi will oversee both. This represents Simran’s return to a brand she helped launch. She will continue to report to Craig Erwich.
  • Over the past six months, Ayo Davis and Craig have worked together very successfully on Disney Branded Television streaming originals. Ayo will continue to report to Craig for streaming, and now that structure will expand to also include the development and programming of Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
  • Debra OConnell, who recently joined my leadership team, will continue to oversee networks and ABC Owned Television Stations, and will add research, labor relations and TV business operations to her purview.
  • Disney Television Studios will remain under Eric Schrier, who will expand his responsibilities to include our global original television strategy, working closely with our talented regional leaders.

Great stories are the lifeblood of our company, and I will remain deeply connected to the creative side of our business. As we begin our new chapter together, I have the utmost confidence in this team of proven and formidable leaders. I am very grateful to Bob for reuniting and realigning our company in such a meaningful way.

I want you all to know how much I appreciate your passion and your pursuit of excellence, which will be key to our success in the months and years ahead. 

Warmest regards,